The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 8, 2013

High water, debris keep boaters ashore during holiday

CLINTON — Fourth of July festivities were in full force on Thursday, but one major Clinton attraction did not make the spotlight for the day.

More flooding woes were in affect Thursday as boaters had limited access to the Mississippi River. High water levels and large debris prevented many from traveling outside of local waters.

“It’s not something you can control. You just accept it and do what you can,” veteran boater Tom Hansen said.

Warnings from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources kept many off the river for the holiday and the Clinton Marina felt much of that loss.

“We had seven transients reserved and all seven canceled,” marina director Cindy Brackemeyer said.

Many of those transients were traveling from areas south along the Mississippi, where flood levels are much higher and river conditions much more dangerous.

Although the conditions were unfavorable, there were some boaters who decided to brave the waters and travel north to Clinton.

“We didn’t have a lot of traffic, but there were quite a few people who came here because they were flooded out south of us,” Brackemeyer said.

These continued flood problems are a cause of frustration for boaters, and with frustration may come impulsive decisions.

“For the most part people are pretty laid back, but some new boaters don’t always use the best discretion. If you aren’t familiar with the area or how to navigate it, you should not be out in these conditions,” Brackemeyer said.

Even Hansen, who has enjoyed river life for more than 50 years, knew the dangers of traveling the Mississippi this past week.

“I don’t want to be out there,” Hansen said. “Anyone with a brain would know not to go out in this.”

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